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Economic Data (USA)

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Productivity and Labor Costs Report for Q3 2021 (Revised)

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) this morning released its quarterly report on Productivity and Unit Labor Costs for the third quarter of 2021 (revised):

Nonfarm Productivity
Predicted: -5.0%
Actual: -5.2%

  • Change from A Year Ago: -0.6%


Unit Labor Costs
Predicted: +9.0%
Actual: +9.6%

  • Change from A Year Ago: +6.3%


The yellow-highlighted percentages represent the quarter-to-quarter change in non-farm productivity and unit labor costs for the United States.

For non-farm productivity, a positive number represents an improvement in the efficiency of producing domestic goods and services in the U.S., and therefore can signify a favorable inflationary outlook, and vice versa.

The Unit Labor Costs report measures the costs related to producing each unit of output. A positive number can be a harbinger of rising inflation, and vice versa.

The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.


 Chart: Labor Productivity | Q1 2017 Through Q3 2021 (Revised)

Chart: Labor Productivity
Q1 2017 Through Q3 2021 (Revised)



Chart: Unit Labor Costs | Q1 2017 Through Q3 2021 (Revised)

 Chart: Unit Labor Costs
Q1 2017 Through Q3 2021 (Revised)



From Today's Report:

"...Nonfarm business sector labor productivity decreased 5.2 percent in the third quarter of 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, as output increased 1.8 percent and hours worked increased 7.4 percent. This is the largest decline in quarterly productivity since the second quarter of 1960, when the measure decreased 6.1..."



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